Connecticut Open replaces New Haven on WTA tour

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HARTFORD, Conn. (AP) — Connecticut's stop on the women's tennis tour changed its name Tuesday after landing a new sponsor.

What had been the New Haven Open is now the Connecticut Open presented by United Technologies.

Tournament director Anne Worcester said the new name is designed to broaden the event's overall appeal and more appropriately reflect the state's investment.

Gov. Dannel P. Malloy's administration last year agreed to spend $618,000 to buy the Women's Tennis Association sanctioning rights to the tournament and keep it from moving to North Carolina.

"With an economic impact of approximately $26 million annually, it goes without saying that this tournament is good for Connecticut," Malloy said Tuesday. "Each year, the tournament draws tens of thousands of spectators and volunteers from across the country, many of whom eat at local restaurants, stay at local hotels and shop at local businesses."

United Technologies Corp., which is based in Hartford, agreed to become the presenting sponsor for the next two years. Financial terms of the deal were not announced.

A men's, women's or combined tournament has operated in New Haven since 1990. But the tournament has not had a title sponsor since Pilot Pen left in 2010 along with the male players.

The tournament's other major sponsors — Aetna Inc., American Express Co., First Niagara Bank, Yale-New Haven Hospital and Yale University — each had already renewed sponsorship deals after last year's tournament and remain committed to those, tournament officials said.

Worcester has acknowledged the event lost money in recent years. The tournament has seen a steady drop in attendance, which led officials last year to close off the upper bowl in the 13,000-seat Connecticut Tennis Center.

Just 45,796 fans attended last summer, down from 76,480 in 2010, the last year it was a combined event with the ATP men's tour. It drew 53,004 in 2012.

This year's tournament is scheduled for Aug. 15-23 at the Connecticut Tennis Center at Yale. In addition to a women's field that includes players such as defending champion and French Open finalist Simona Halep, Sara Errani and Caroline Wozniacki, it will include men's exhibition matches featuring Fairfield native James Blake and former top-ranked Americans Jim Courier and Andy Roddick.

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